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The Gravedigger

The cemetery gates creaked open. The shadows of the moonlight moved ominously across the ground. The graves were covered under the moving shadows for one second and set free the next. The bats fluttered about with the creaking. The crows and ravens began their deathly song. It almost seemed as if the dead were going to come alive once more and torment the living souls on earth from their domain of hell.

Amidst the chaos of the living, the dead and the living dead, one long and cautious shadow moved across the ground. This time it was a living shadow mixing with the others. However, that shadow stood apart from the other shadows. The being to whom the shadow belonged moved without hesitation across the cemetery. It moved as if the cemetery was its domain. The being moved like a leader over his obedient followers.

The being stopped in the moonlight. The light shined off various metal pieces on its body. On a badge it read "Alan Recorcia. Employee of ‘Funerals Extraordinaire’". Alan looked around, took out a piece of paper, put it back and put down all his tools. He was at the spot. He took out s shovel and started digging. And, thus, Alan began his trip six feet down in the preparation of a resting-place for the body of yet another passed soul.

Thoughts and feelings ran free in the moonlight. You could almost hear the dead conspiring to overrun the living world and destroy all that the living were living for. You could hear the crows and ravens planning how they would help the dead in their evil scheme, assuming, of course, that they would get some edible rewards. You could tell that Alan was troubled. But, you couldn’t hear his feelings, for they were too loud to hear with just ears.

And so Alan went on digging. He just had to dig another one and a half feet and his job for the night would be done. He continued without any fear of the night or of its citizens lurking in the background. He cared for nothing and for nobody. Why should he? There was nothing to care for him. He only gave what he got. And he got nothing, except for his fees for the digging.

Alan liked the night. He didn’t love it, but he liked it. He loved nothing. The night was so empty and mysterious. In the shadows, anything could happen. Anything could be done and nobody would know. Alan could dig the grave, get paid for it and nobody would know or remember that after one minute. In the night, there were no hassles. Mostly everything living was asleep. Life and all its complications were resting for another night. And in the day, Alan would sleep while the rest of the living world lived another day of agony, day after day.

There was just half a foot left to dig. Alan’s work would end in time. Dawn was just a few hours away. Alan would be able to finish and return home in time for his escape from the living world. He would be able to escape the living for another day. But he knew that he could not hide for long. Life would track him down and torment him for his entire remaining existence on this realm. But for now he was free!

His work was all but finished. All that he had to do now was get out of the six-foot hole the he had dug and put the tombstone in place for the rotting corpse. He threw his shovel and other tools out of the hole and pulled himself up. When he was out he realised he was tired. He didn’t usually feel tired. He admitted that this dig did have its complications, but it was no reason to be tired. He cursed himself for being weak.

He put all his tools in their respective boxes and bags. He then pulled one bag up to him and pulled out the heavy tombstone out of it. He lifted it and vertically straightened it and then slammed it down into the groove in the ground. The tombstone read as follows:

Helena Recorcia,

Wife of previously departed James Recorcia.

Survived by son Alan,

Whose message to his mother is

"Enjoy the realm of the dead.

It only calls you once."

He checked if he had left anything in the hole or around it. Alan picked up his bags and boxes, said one final farewell and walked away under the moonlight.

The gate to the cemetery creaked once more. The shadows moved again. The dead conversed about the new arrival in excitement. Their forces were growing and soon enough they would have enough forces to complete their scheme. Everything else was asleep. The night would go once again and give way to the day and with it would go Alan, back to his escape from the living for another day until the night would return triumphantly once more.